Provide aid, not politics

Published 12:34 am Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As local governments are filling out paperwork as part of the process to be reimbursed for some storm-recovery expenses, the Federal Emergency Management Agency may not have the money to make those reimbursements.

The local governments have done nothing wrong. Instead, the problem is with the current do-nothing Congress. FEMA runs out of cash this week unless Congress does something about it.

FEMA running out of money just as local governments begin applying for reimbursement grants? Talk about a disaster.

And another shutdown of the federal government looms Saturday. The threat of the shutdown is the third one this year.

Don’t the members of Congress — representatives and senators alike — understand it’s their job to take care of the nation’s business, and by taking care of the nation’s business taking care of its citizens?

“FEMA will run out of money. It’s unclear whether it will be Tuesday, or Thursday, or Friday. … But it’s gonna run out of money this week for sure unless it gets new funding,” New York’s senior Sen. Chuck Schumer told the New York Daily News on Sunday.

Instead of talking about it, Schumer should have been working with his Congressional colleagues to do something about the problem.

Last week, the GOP-led U.S. House passed a bill that would have provided the needed money to keep the federal government running through mid-November and for disaster aid. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, rejected the House’s version of the bill, saying it was nothing more than tea party gamesmanship to require emergency aid to be paid on a pay-as-you-go basis, especially with cuts that would result in the loss of jobs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called a Senate vote Monday on what he labeled a compromise bill that would keep the government running through November and provide the same amount of funding for FEMA that the House bill provides.

Local governments and residents in eastern North Carolina need aid, not politics.

It’s past time for Congress to lay aside partisan politics and deliver aid to disaster victims.